‘The city reflects itself in the WTC’

Hans Peter Roel and Nicole van Namen live on the twelfth floor of Forum on Coolsingel. When you enter the apartment, you are immediately attracted by the large windows. The view over Rotterdam is breathtaking. “We like to drink on Friday afternoons on the balcony.”

Hans Peter and Nicole commute between two houses. The apartment in the heart of Rotterdam and a house on Ringvaartplas in Prinsenland. Nicole: “In this way, we can seek out the coziness and bustle of the city, but also the peace and quiet, if we want it. A huge luxury, but as long as it is financially possible, we will keep it that way.”

From bank employee to writer

The apartment in Forum is officially Hans Peter’s house. Before he came to live in the new tower, he had often been on the building’s twelfth floor. “I used to work for ABN AMRO and this was an office for the bank. We always had meetings right on this floor,” he says.

That the building used to be a bank building can still be seen from the thick stone wall in the kitchen and bathroom. The residence also fits well with his current occupation. “I am now a writer and live above Donner Bookshop. The circle is full!”

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Writes at high altitude

Buddha statues, salt lamps and crystals are everywhere in the apartment and soothing music plays in the background. The titles of Hans Peter’s books, which are stacked on the floor, also reveal his spiritual background. “I first came into contact with Buddhism thirty years ago in Nepal. That’s what I wrote my first book about.”

Even now, he can still be regularly found in monasteries to focus on his writing. “But this apartment is friendly safe harbor for me. You might think that it’s super busy in the middle of Rotterdam, but up here you don’t hear any of the city’s sounds at all. I also need the hustle and bustle of the city for inspiration.” The view, enriching on clear days, also helps in his work. “The height gives me a sense of space. I can always look outside and do a bit of research.”

If we watch a movie in ten minutes, we’ll still make it

Go out and discover new hotspots

Nicole can sometimes find the hustle and bustle of the city a bit much, but she enjoys all the facilities in the area. “If we see a great movie playing in ten minutes, we’ll put our shoes on and we’ll make it!” The couple enjoys all the art and culture that can be found in Rotterdam. Nicole: “We like to go to the Kunsthallen or Depotet. And on Thursday evenings we have salsa lessons at El YoYo.” They are also happy to be found in the Rotterdam catering industry. Get a cup of coffee in De Bijenkorf, at Uptown, Anne & Max or the new Unfiltered. “Or a glass of wine at Wijnbar Het Eigendom or Janssen & van Dijk.”

Nicole is the initiator of ‘Hands van Humanitas’, with which she sets up all kinds of projects and campaigns for the Humanitas Foundation. She has gathered around her a network of Rotterdam companies and entrepreneurs who all want to do something for vulnerable Rotterdammers.

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The view of Hans Peter and Nicole from their apartment in Forum. – Photo: indebuurt Rotterdam

From the Coolsingel riots to the summer carnival

With a house on Coolsingel you are first place at the Rotterdam events. But that’s not the first thing Nicole and Hans Peter think of when they ask if they’ve already experienced big moments here. They were in the apartment during the Coolsingel riots in November 2021, when hundreds of protesters rioted against the police. Nicole: “It was a very threatening situation. We saw a car on fire and rioters destroying shops. Of course we stayed inside.”

Fortunately, they can also enjoy fun events, such as the summer carnival, NN Marathon, Rotterdam Pride. “This year the Wednesday skate also came.”

Reflection in the WTC

The couple expects to continue living in Forum for a while, especially because of the combination with the apartment in Prinsenland. Nicole: “Every morning we enjoy a cup of coffee on the balcony with the most beautiful view. The city is reflected in the WTC, and so does the evening sun!” Hans Peter is also more than satisfied. “I have a beautiful house and a beautiful wife. What else do you want?”

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Your trip

Want to show how great your home looks? Send an email to [email protected]. Maybe you also live in a hip apartment in a high tower. Or do you have a nice house on Katendrecht. Wherever you live; there is something to say about every house.

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